Autism Statistics

Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) is a group of multi-faceted developmental disorders that is accompanied by symptoms such as delays in social, communication and behavior skills. According to the center for Disease Control and Prevention, autism is identified to affect all kinds of racial, ethnic and social groups.


The average prevalence of ASDs identified among children aged 8 years increased 57% in 10 sites from the 2002 to the 2006 surveillance year. Although improved ascertainment accounts for some of the prevalence increases documented a true increase in the risk for children to develop ASD symptoms cannot be ruled out (CDC, 2006). It is said that an average of 1 in 110 children in the United States alone has ASD (CDC, 2010).

Birth Rates

Roughly 1 percent of children born each year will eventually be diagnosed with ASD, according to the National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities (NCBDDD). That means that out of the 4 million births in the United States every year, almost 40,000 children will eventually be diagnosed with mild to severe ASD by age 8. 

Twins and Siblings

Studies show that identical twins have a 60 to 90 percent chance of both being diagnosed with autism. It is less likely, 0 to 23 percent, that both fraternal twins will be diagnosed with ASD. However, in families where one child has been diagnosed with autism, there is a 2 to 8 percent chance of another child having autism.

Verbal Skills

The NCBDDD states that 25 to 30 percent of children diagnosed with autism will speak some words by 12 to 18 months. However, those children will have a diminished capacity for, or lose the ability altogether, to communicate verbally. Nearly 40 percent of children diagnosed will never be able to speak at all. The remaining percentage of children may be able to communicate verbally at a much later age.


Although diagnosing autism is possible by age 2, most children with autism do not get diagnosed until 4.5 to 5.5 years of age. Between 51 to 91 percent of those children present symptoms of autism at age 3 or earlier. Furthermore, roughly 33 percent of children with autism show signs by age 1 while a full 80 percent show significant symptoms at 2 years of age. Accurate diagnosis is available by age 2, yet most children are not diagnosed until much later. 

Incurred Costs  

It is fairly well known that raising a child with autism can be a financial strain. The average monthly expense of rearing a child with autism can be significantly more than a household without a diagnosed child, ranging between $4,000 to $6,250 per month per child. Over the course of a lifetime, the average extra care expenditure for a person with autism can be as high as $3.2 million. Early intervention can help alleviate the costs incurred over a lifetime. Importantly, it can help a child with autism make better development progress and decrease the likelihood and intensity of adult intervention.


Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Autism Spectrum Disorders: Data and Statistics. Retrieved May 11, 2011 from

National Center on Birth Defects and Developmental Disabilities Retrieved May 11, 2011 from

Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorders — Autism and Developmental Disabilities Monitoring Network, United States, 2006. Retrieved May 11, 2011 from

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